On the occasion of the 185th birth anniversary
Petros A. Demirchyan-Doctor of Sciences in Philology
Raffi (Hakob Melik-Hakobyan) is one of the prominent Armenian writers whose fate was closely connected with the fate of the Motherland, and for the sake of the Motherland and the people, his literary and civil heroism paved the shortest path to immortality.
Indeed, the large-scale activities of Raffi and his erudition are surprising. He was a great novelist, warlike publicist, progressive thinker, patriotic figure.
Sincere interest in the historical fate of the people, high patriotic feelings forced the writer to look for new ways to deal with forces that impede the development of people and society. To this end, he got acquainted with the sociopolitical, philosophical and aesthetic views of European and Russian progressive thinkers Voltaire, Feuerbach, Rousseau, Belinsky, Dobrolubov and Chernyshevsky, inherited the creative principles of folk literature of H. Abovyan.
The ideological and creative flight that Raffi made, from the ideology of enlightenment to romanticism, to the greatest ideals of the true freedom of peoples, deserves deep respect and appreciation. This is the reason for the great aesthetic, national, social and historical value of the heritage of the great writer. His talented books “Samvel”, “David Bek”, “Sparks”, “Golden Rooster” and others are an encyclopedia of the historical life of the Armenian people, a school for the education of freedom and patriotism.
Raffi considered the problems of the Homeland and the people in his works based on the principles of historicism and national, including linguistic, unity.
Raffi’s highly artistic works were considered by many in the wider context of world literature of his time. Back in 1913, on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the death of Raffi, Daniel Varuzhan wrote: “Raffi became the father of Armenian novelism. Our Scott, if you like, who was able to vividly invoke the past and prophesy about the future”.
A. Chopanyan also believed that some of Raffi’s works, such as “Samvel”, “The Fool” and others, could be presented to a foreign reader “and receive a warm welcome.” Moreover, with some reservations, he put the name of Raffi next to the names of Dickens, Balzac, Dostoevsky, Tolstoy.
Concerning some characters and episodes of Raffi’s novels, parallels also arise with the works of Shakespeare and Dostoevsky (“Richard III”, “The Brothers Karamazov”).
Of course, all this was not accidental. The basis for the abovementioned statements is provided by the work of Raffi himself, when considering it not only from the point of view of national, but also universal ideas, as well as from the point of view of the level of creative thinking of the writer.